Appearance and dress codes


A printable PDF version of this information sheet is available.

In Alberta, employers have the right to establish the appearance, grooming and dress standards that they believe are necessary for the safe or effective conduct of their business. An employer can set reasonable appearance, grooming and dress standards in areas such as aesthetics, health and safety, unless these standards discriminate against employees based on any of the protected grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act.

Standards or codes should not be used to exclude an individual from employment or to treat an employee adversely based on any of the protected grounds. The protected grounds are: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, source of income and sexual orientation. For more information, see the Commission information sheet Protected areas and grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act.

Employers have a duty to accommodate the individual needs of employees based on the protected grounds, up to the point of undue hardship. For more information about the duty to accommodate, see the information sheet Employment: Duty to accommodate and the interpretive bulletin Duty to accommodate.

Please note: A complaint must be made to the Alberta Human Rights Commission within one year after the alleged incident of discrimination. The one-year period starts the day after the date on which the incident occurred. For help calculating the one-year period, contact the Commission.

October 2017

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The Alberta Human Rights Commission is an independent commission of the Government of Alberta.

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